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Average worker wrote novel's worth of email in 2012

Categories: Community, Science & Technology

Do you suffer from email overload? (iStock photo)

If it feels like you typed enough words over email last year to fill a novel - like, say, Lord of the Flies - you're probably right.

According to the organization app Cue, which generates stats based on its user information, the average email user composed 41,368 words in 2012. And, yes, if you printed and bound all those pages, the result would be about the size of the 1954 classic about schoolboys stranded on an island.

But even if you don't use the app, you may still see something of yourself in its data.

The average number of email messages received last year was 5579 per person. The number sent out was a more modest 869. That's about 6.42 messages sitting in the inbox for every one sent out.

The busiest hour of the day, Cue found, was 11:00 a.m., and the busiest day of the week was Tuesday - which towered over Monday.

Of course, the app's overview is just the latest in a long procession of summaries and studies hoping to make sense of this modern phenomenon called email and all the stress it induces - especially when it's part of your job.

Several have tried creative solutions.

These measures may seem less extreme in light of data from the Radicati Group, a market research firm based in Palo Alto, which estimates that the average corporate email user will see an increase of 4 to 5 per cent more email each year.

The group notes that the growth rate of emails traffic has slowed down in recent years due to a rise in other kinds of communication, like instant messaging and social media, but the average corporate email user still sent and received about 105 email messages per day in 2011.

And is it ever time consuming.

The average worker spends more than a quarter of their day answering and reading emails, according to a 2012 study by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. That puts it second only to completing "role-specific tasks," which takes up 39 per cent of a worker's time.

All this has us wondering, how many messages do you have in your inbox at this exact moment? How many of them are unread? How long does it normally take you to reply?

Overall, would you say you have a healthy relationship with your inbox? Do you have a strategy for managing the flow?


(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)

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